Ember Indian Kitchen
By Michelle Hopkins

From corporate life to restaurateur

For 25 years, Uganda natives Amin and Farida Sunderji ran their highly successful furniture store in Yaletown, Richmond and Coquitlam (now called Lane Home Furnishings) before retiring and passing the torch on to their daughter Saleema and her husband. In 2016, when they moved from Burnaby to Steveston to be closer to their grandchildren, the couple yearned for some authentic Indian cuisine. When they couldn’t find a good spot, they opened a restaurant themselves.

“I thought: why can’t Steveston have a casual, but upscale Indian restaurant that serves high quality and delicious food?” says Amin. As luck would have it, the new condo the couple bought was close to a perfect riverfront retail space. Boasting expansive windows, Ember Indian Kitchen found its home along the Fraser River in Steveston, where guests can watch boats go by, while dining on fabulous South Asian fare.

Ember symbolizes the memories of the char from back home that’s needed to grill our food and cook our curries. - Amin Sunderji, owner
Ember Indian Kitchen was the vision of owners Amin and Farida Sunderji.
Ember Indian Kitchen was the vision of owners Amin and Farida Sunderji. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography

Cuisine from home

Inspired by the fusion of India and East Africa (particularly the street food of Uganda), Ember’s repertoire of “celebrated” dishes are many, such as its samosas (which are hand wrapped in light crispy pastry), oven baked naan (regular or with garlic), tilapia and grilled prawns.

The secret to the tasty cuisine starts with the freshest produce, meat and seafood purchased by local purveyors and then cooked to perfection. “Ember symbolizes the memories of the char from back home that’s needed to grill our food and cook our curries,” explains Amin. “Ember's coconut curry chicken and masala halibut were a big part of my mother’s family dinners. At Ember, we fuse African and Indian cuisine using flames to ensure dishes burst with flavour. My wife Farida is in the kitchen working with the chefs to ensure the consistency of taste,” Amin says.

Pair your meal with one of Ember's Indian beers or cocktails and you are set for a memorable meal. They also offer a well-curated selection of local and international wine, which marry well with the food.

Ember Indian Kitchen's grilled prawns are a customer favourite.
Ember Indian Kitchen's grilled prawns are a customer favourite. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography
Ember Indian Kitchen's menu is inspired by the fusion of India and East Africa.
Ember Indian Kitchen's menu is inspired by the fusion of India and East Africa. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography
Ember Indian Kitchen's tilapia bursts with flavour.
Ember Indian Kitchen's tilapia bursts with flavour. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography

Great food, great space

When the garage-style doors are open – and the angle and breeze are just right – the subtle, but unmistakable aroma of garam masala floods the riverfront. Seating 60 inside and 35 on the outdoor seasonal patio, Ember Indian Kitchen’s striking space was designed by Saleema and Amin. “We were looking for a classic, yet modern feel that wasn’t necessarily Indian, but current and contemporary," Amin notes. The result is an expansive, bright, sleek restaurant, where Stevestonites and foodies from across the Lower Mainland come for an inspired menu.

“We want to consistently offer great food, complete with a wonderful atmosphere and excellent service," says Saleema. “And since we opened the doors (just before Labour Day), the restaurant has been packed,” she adds.  "It truly solidifies all the hard work my parents put into Ember.”

[Header photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography]

Ember Indian Kitchen industrial chic interior is warm and welcoming.
Ember Indian Kitchen industrial chic interior is warm and welcoming. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography
Seating 60 inside and 35 on the outdoor seasonal patio, Ember Indian Kitchen’s striking space was designed by Saleema and Amin.
Seating 60 inside and 35 on the outdoor seasonal patio, Ember Indian Kitchen’s striking space was designed by Saleema and Amin. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography
Ember Indian Kitchen industrial chic interior is warm and welcoming.
Ember Indian Kitchen industrial chic interior is warm and welcoming. Photo courtesy of Sandra Steier Photography
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